Lots of designers scratch their product design itch (increasingly turning to funding platforms to see their ideas realised) but this is a case of someone doing it the ‘old fashioned’ way… Ric Bell of POST has spent the last couple of years figuring out how to make his three-dimensional wooden desktop calendar a reality! Called DodeCal it’s a beautifully made, nicely weighted, precisely laser etched object and a joy to hold in the hand. It is made for people who appreciate design, maths and traditional craftsmanship. The initial run for 2017 is of 100 – a number is hand-written on a brand card inside the box along with the calendar. I spoke to Ric to find out a bit more…

FFF: What made you want to embark on the long and tricky journey of product design?

RB: I never set out to design a product really. The original idea was one of those things I jotted down in one of my notebooks; “Put a calendar on a 12 sided shape”. The original note was from way back in 2012! But it wasn’t until about 2015 that things really started to formulate. After some really questionable samples from India I realised that it wasn’t going to be easy. Eventually I was put in touch with a second generation toy-maker based up in the Lake District. After chatting with him and a local furniture maker we got together and came up with some idea about how to ‘reveal’ the dodecahedron shape from a rectangular block, rather than construct the shape from individual pieces. A lot of maths was involved which thankfully one of the guys had a degree in. Then it was a case of sampling different woods, testing different oils and finishes before figuring out the optimum laser engraving settings; deep enough to feel when you run your thumb over it, yet not too powerful that it would leave scorch marks in the wood. It has taken a while, but I’m really happy with the results. My only hope is that other people value and appreciate the design and construction too.

FFF: Give us a bit of an idea how you juggle your time with Brick, POST & now DodeCal?

RB: This is all down to the POST team. None of it would be possible without them. We also have really strong relationships with our clients too so couple that with my borderline OCD organisation skills and we can get pretty much anything done if we set our collective mind to it. A big thank you has to go to one of our designers Nathan Matthews who really took a lead on the branding and website of DodeCal while I was busy refining the actual product. Just today, we recieved the final packaging boxes from the printers. I’m really looking forward to hopefully seeing these on the shelves of certain design stores.

FFF: Any plans for further products?

RB: I would really love to say that we could continue to develop DodeCal in the future. People have already been asking about different woods which would be great to experiment with. Mahogany seems to be a popular request! But we will have to see how this first run of DodeCals does first. I never really realised the true cost of manufacturing a quality product in the UK by craftsman. This is reflected in the cost of the object but I would hope that that the person buying DodeCal appreciates the time, effort and skill that goes into making an object so tactile and unique.

Luke Tonge

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